Reading: Building Preschool Children’s Language and Literacy One Storybook at a Time
Firstly, this reading describes that some early childhood educators teaching in preschool setting are lacking formal training in language and literacy pedagogy. To ensure that preschool educators contribute in literacy success they need practical guidance and support. So the reading provides some thoughts and strategies for assisting early childhood educators to facilitate literacy success in children through shared reading. In shared reading simultaneously oral and written language are presented that helps children in acquiring oral language ability alongwith early print concept.
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Secondly, the reading introduced a professional tool called Innovation Configuration (IC). The tool insists early childhood educators to make maximum use of their experience of shared storybook reading. The IC permits teachers to find out basic elements of literacy and language appropriate for a particular book and to make a plan for addressing these areas in different stages of their shared reading, and subsequently put across on their practices. This exercise equips preschool educators to build literacy and language development in children – one storybook at a time.
Thirdly, the reading emphasizes that children during preschool years should be sufficiently acquainted with enough knowledge and skills of language to become more efficient in their formal education. This shows that language acquisition for young children not only required for interaction with others but also needed for improving their learning in an educational setting. If the language competence foundation of children is appropriate and strong, so as they begin formal education they will be relying on their own language skills and abilities.
The focus of this reading is to help early childhood educators understand the inherent value and veracity of shared reading with preschool children to construct a solid base of language and growing literacy skills. Sharing reading is a unique learning context that lively engages and involves a child and adult in a shared interaction. Storybooks through shared reading engage children more than simply looking at pictures instead it familiarizes them with a world of language of words and sounds that likely be different from their surroundings. For example, Jessica Stockham’s Down by the Station (2002) permits children to experience diverse onomatopoeic words unfolding the sounds of vehicles – “the chuff, chuff, chuff of the train; the brrm, brrm, brrm of the bus; the beep, beep, beep of the taxi”. Clearly, the example is highlighting that how a storybook gives an insight to children about the words and sounds that facilitate them to form vocabulary concepts.
The reading inferred that storybooks increase the knowledge about a language words, sounds and grammar. Storybooks introduce children with basic information relating to the usage and publication of books. Storybooks familiarize children with the makeup of words and their sounds in an alphabetic language. Admittedly, storybooks have enough advantages but still it is noticeable that book sharing is not proposed to read. If preschool children could learn reading so easily through teaching then probably all would be able to read by the time they enter school. Not the least important that storybook reading creates opportunities for children to build relationships with adults. The developing competencies of children relating to language and literacy emerge in the context of children’s relationship with adults (Pianta, 2000).
This reading has a close connection with EML 302 other unit of the program where article ‘the child and the story. Sharing stories aloud: Reading and telling’, is of particular references with the reading (Winch & Anderson, 1993). Winch & Anderson (1993) say, “children before they can talk see the new world around them filled with stories. When they do begin to communicate through language, they talk the world into being, through the stories they hear and tell”.
Reading: Using Scaffolding to teach Phonemic Awareness in Preschool and Kindergarten
Firstly, the reading shows that during the preschool period several key precursor skills are used for developing conventional literacy in children – where phonological awareness is one of them. To make reading accessible through decoding and spelling, causal and predictive relationship exists between phonological awareness and children’s ease of learning. But still many preschool curricula lack enough instructions for this area. Additionally, that curricula do not provide any suggestive feedback technique to teachers for children if the children fail to perform a task.
Secondly, the reading notifies that some children do not easily grasp the instructions provided to them by the teachers. The authors cited some reasons such as socioeconomic dynamics, not understating the language of instruction, unfamiliarity with words and/or not understating the required task for their inability to grasp the instructions provided to them.
Thirdly, the writers suggest three levels of scaffolding for reaching all preschoolers to appropriate levels of phonemic awareness. In intense scaffolding, teachers use many comments and emphasize the beginning phoneme in isolation and say the word with the phoneme exaggerated. In moderate scaffolding teachers use fewer comments and isolate and emphasize the first sound by bouncing or elongating the sound in isolation and within the word. In minimum scaffolding, teacher while saying a word merely stress the first sound. As a child begins to succeed with one level of scaffolding, teachers reduce the amount of support they provide from intense to moderate to minimal scaffolding until the child becomes able to perform isolating tasks without scaffolding.
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Effective instructions are needed to familiarize children with the letters of written language and increase their awareness about the sounds of spoken language. Effective instructions provide children clear and organized teaching of sound-letter relationship in proper order that allows children to understand and use their learning of language. Instructions should be systematic and explicit in letter names and sounds (Lonigan, 2004a & Lonigan et al., 2005). Proficient decoding strategies are also of prime consideration in children acquisition of language. Decoding strategies enable children to identify the words with ease and prompt, so that they can focus on the meanings of their readings.
This reading inferred that opportunities should be created and provided to children to comprehend and control the building blocks of spoken language. To read an alphabetic language, it is important that children should have the ability to think about individual words as a sequence of sounds (phonemes). One of the key predictors of children’s success in learning to read and write is phonemic awareness – knowing that spoken words are devisable into separate sounds. Through scaffolding a teacher can determine about the nature and scope of help or information is needed for a child to perform a task correctly and latter on independently.
This reading can be associated with “Learning Language”, the other unit (EML 302) of the program. This unit of the program determines that children’s future success is linked with learning language. In the cited unit a reading “Staff interact with children to stimulate curiosity and thinking (Fleer, 2005)” underlies the same concept that a teacher should stimulate children’s thinking and initiate conversation with them to facilitate them in language acquisition.
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